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Tag Archives: Wearables

Next Generation Wearables: A Future Without Phones?

Today’s wearables can monitor heart rate, breathing rate, sleeping patterns, calories burned, intensity of activity, sleep patterns, temperature and much more. Work is underway to turn these wearable devices into bendable, stretchable forms that can be 3D printed or stamped directly onto human skin.

One of the earliest commercial examples of bendable wearables is in conjunction with the Proteus digital pill http://www.proteus.com — a device that incorporates a grain of sand sized ingestible sensor into a pill that can measure a patient’s medication-taking patterns and physiologic response.

Once the ingestible sensor reaches the stomach, it transmits a signal to a wearable Proteus patch worn on the torso. From there, a digital record is sent to the patient’s mobile device, and then to the Proteus cloud where with the patient’s permission, healthcare providers and caregivers can access it via a portal. The patch also measures and shares patient metrics such as sleep patterns and physical activity levels.

Proteus’ peel-and-stick biometric sensor patch is the first of many flexible sensor patches. Earlier this year, engineers at University of California, Berkeley http://news.berkeley.edu/2016/01/27/wearable-sweat-sensors/, developed a prototype wrist device that incorporates a wireless flexible PCB [printed circuit board] and a flexible sensor array that’s able to analyse the chemicals in sweat. And, Cambridge MA-based MC10 has developed a thin electronic mesh that stretches with the skin and can monitor data from the brain, muscles, heart, temperature, movement, hydration and strain. Their BioStampRC Sensor https://www.mc10inc.com/our-products/biostamprc conforms to the contours of the human body.

These biometric devices will provide many opportunities for ultra-individualised healthcare services, safety monitoring and self-quantification.

They also point the way to the future of mobile devices.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research recently released research on a project known as DuoSkin http://duoskin.media.mit.edu/ — a fabrication process that enables rapid prototyping of functional devices directly on a user’s skin using gold leaf as a key material. DuoSkin is a skin-based user interface that senses touch input, displays outputs and communicates wirelessly with other devices — allowing control of external devices directly from a skin-based patch that looks like jewellery.

Then there are the latest augmented reality smart glasses, which process user input based on hand gestures and voice commands. In the future, these smart glasses will morph into smart contacts, which will undoubtedly communicate with an array of sensors on and in our bodies.

In the telco space, mobile operators generate sizeable revenue streams from the sale of handsets, as well as using subsidized handsets as in incentive to lock customers into multi-year contract periods.

Mobile hardware revenue continues to grow, increasing year-on-year in line with average recommended retail prices on high-end smartphones.

What will happen to this lucrative revenue stream in the coming 3-5 year timeframe? Will smartphones continue to be a cash cow for the mobile industry? Will smart glasses replace the mobile handset revenue stream?

I hope you can join me at the Subex User Conference https://www.subex.com/subex-user-conference/ in Jaipur India where I will explore these and many other trends in my keynote speech on “Unlocking the Future.”

* Photo Credit: MIT Media Lab http://duoskin.media.mit.edu/

Shara Evans is a Technologist, Futurist and Keynote Speaker. She is recognized as one of the world’s top female futurists, fusing her engineering background with an intuitive understanding of how society is likely to respond to new technologies. She’s the Founder and CEO of Market Clarity, an award-winning technology analyst firm which has been providing innovative research and strategic consulting on telecoms and technology for the past 19 years.

Trends Driving the Telecom Industry

Technology has put consumers are in the driver’s seat, demanding a seamless experience across all their devices.  The Internet of Things (connected living), Mobile Money, Video Streaming, Social Apps, VOIP and other OTT services are straining the network and operators’ ability to manage relationships with customers and partners in a profitable way.  With an increasingly convergent market as the background, Capgemini, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, has published its predictions of where the telecoms industry is heading by 2020.  Below is a summary of their top 5 predictions (in italics) with added insights from the industry:

Integration with content providers

The recent trend of telco’s acquiring or partnering with content providers (Comcast and NBC Universal, AT&T and Direct TV) may be overtaken by content providers predicted to be acquiring telecoms companies. Net Neutrality is increasingly at risk as content distribution and content providers join up and could control the content available to consumers.

Internet of Things: The next major trend that will impact is the explosion of connected devices

Also referred to as the rise of connected living, it’s predicted that IoT will drive data volumes into the realm of zetabytes per year. As Raj Talluri, a senior vice president of Qualcomm, has said

“I don’t think anyone really knows yet how big it’s going to get because the possibilities are really endless”

IoT is not just about connected devices, but about the analytics that makes sense of this tsunami of data. It is also the usefulness of the analytics that will drive the success of IoT devices.

IoT covers a range of different applications:

The Connected Home

For consumers IoT can help to save money by running homes more efficiently, improve security and provide entertainment. In an increasingly complex world IoT can help us to manage all the products and services we depend on by automating household administration and providing remote monitoring and control of devices.

Connected Health

Wearables are opening the door to great possibilities in health and fitness. While wearables have gained popularity amongst the health conscious, the potential of wearables is also being applied in assisting to provide essential monitoring and care for those in need.

The connected car

As cars are an extension of our homes so the connected car is, in part, an extension of our connected homes.  Cars now have entertainment systems that stream our favourite music, tracking systems so friends and relatives can know where we are and, of course, SatNav that knows current traffic and weather conditions. Connected cars can also provide automated diagnostics and reduce our insurance premiums through conscientious driving.

Gartner forecasts that 1 in 5 cars will be connected by 2020.

Mobility

While PC’s are still a popular choice for many tasks, the growth in mobility is being driven by the developing world, where mobile is often cheaper and more convenient than fixed line services.

Five big trends in mobility

  1. Wearables

According the Mashable 15 Mobile Trends to Watch the battleground for wearables has only just begun

  1. Mobile payments go big

Emarketer are predicting that in the US mobile payments will triple in 2016

  1. Security

Mobile and BYOD are major threats to enterprise security, so mobile apps need to ensure the highest levels of security are implemented.

  1. Mobilization of Enterprise Apps

As reported by 451 Research, 40% of companies are planning to prioritize development of business apps.  Many of these will be “companion apps” that augment, rather than replace, existing enterprise applications.

  1. Automotive and Transport will be a key vertical, according to Analysis Mason in the explosive IoT market for life automation

Market Saturation

A growing adoption of connected health and safety apps will ensure that even the latest of mobile adopters, the elderly, will eventually be getting connected, leaving that last remaining market saturated. This will drive the need for operators to differentiate themselves further through content.

Security

Beyond mobile device security, consumers are increasingly concerned about the security of their data held by enterprises, which will drive a demand for more secure systems and better data management processes.

The challenges faced by telecoms operators are immense. With such diverse forces pushing the market forward, operators need to adopt an efficient, robust and highly elastic enterprise architecture more than ever.  Managing different lines of business and marketing efforts with different departments is no longer an option, as customers expect companies to provide a seamless experience across multiple services.  Subex have specialised capabilities in helping telcos improve organisational efficiency for years, and now the latest version of the ROC product suite is more highly integrated than ever before, allowing it to deliver the insights and efficiencies that are essential for a telco to compete in today’s rapidly evolving market.

Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years as a BI and Analytics consultant, and more recently as ROC Product Manager for Subex Ltd. He has designed and deployed solutions for global companies in many sectors including Insurance, utilities and telecommunications. Mark holds a BSc Hons in Computer Science from Manchester University (UK).

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